THE JOURNEY FROM CHILDHOPE INTERNATIONAL TO CHILDHOPE PHILIPPINES...
ChildHope International, founded as a non-governmental organisation in 1986, was the first international movement on behalf of street children. Established under the guidance of leading global organisations including UNICEF, the World Council of Churches and Save the Children Sweden, ChildHope International was soon looking to set up regional offices in the US, UK and Asia.
Ms. Teresita Silva, then a full-time consultant for UNICEF Philippines, represented UNICEF Philippines at a ChildHope International Board Meeting, where she was tasked with establishing a regional office for ChildHope in Southeast Asia. In May 1989, ChildHope hosted the First Asian Regional Conference for Street Children in Manila, cementing its regional presence in Southeast Asia and eventually covering all of Asia. ChildHope Asia, the regional office of ChildHope International, opened in June 1989 in Manila.
When ChildHope International decided to stop its operations, however, Ms. Silva decided to continue the work of ChildHope Asia and re-registered the NGO with the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines as ‘ChildHope Asia Philippines, Inc.’ in 1995. From 2013 onwards, ChildHope Asia Philippines, Inc. is known simply as ChildHope Philippines.
ChildHope Philippines is now completely independent of other ChildHope organisations around the world including UK, USA and Haiti. ChildHope Philippines is a locally incorporated, non-government organisation that continues it’s work and advocacy on behalf of street children in the Philippines together with it’s sister NGOs (FCED and Tahanan Sta. Luisa), a large network of other NGOs, national and local government units, international funding agencies, staff, consultants, volunteers, Board of Directors and with its founding President, Ms. Teresita Silva, at the helm of operations.
BUT, IT ALL STARTED WITH FCED!
In 1985, a year before ChildHope International was established; leading citizens of Manila, concerned about the plight of street children, founded the Institute for Social Services for the Empowerment of Children (ISSEC) in Manila with the aim of organising urban poor communities with particular focus on street children.
Ms. Sylvia Montes, former chief of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the Republic of the Philippines, founded ISSEC and invited Ms. Teresita Silva to join its Board of Directors.
When ISSEC was dissolved, Ms. Silva decided to build on its good work with a new NGO. Families and Children for Empowerment and Development Foundation (FCED) was thus born and continued on the path of its predecessor ISSEC. The NGO was duly registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines in 1992. FCED's community development efforts over more than two decades have empowered many urban poor of Metro Manila and prevented more children from joining the streets.
COMING HOME TO TAHANAN STA. LUISA
The early days of ChildHope Philippines’ work with street children in Manila showed up the glaring lack of facilities and shelters available to them. While crisis care centres existed for abused or prostituted children, these were not available to street children. In answer to this urgent need, Tahanan Sta. Luisa, a crisis intervention and recovery centre for the rehabilitation of abused and prostituted street girls, was founded on April 6, 1999.
From its first home in Caloocan City in 1999, the centre moved to Asilo de San Vicente de Paul in Manila in 2000, and later to Paco from 2002 until 2004. Presently, the centre is based in Quezon City where the girls enjoy the larger space and the peaceful neighbourhood.
The Tahanan Sta. Luisa crisis centre admits street girls of 11-15 years of age, from the streets or urban poor communities in Metro Manila who are abandoned, maltreated or survivors of sexual abuse or prostitution. They are usually referred to the centre by social workers and street educators from ChildHope Philippines, FCED or other NGOs. Since 1999, Tahanan St. Luisa has supported 560 street girls.
ChildHope Asia quickly set up networks and collaborations with different agencies working for street children in the Asian region, creating pioneering projects to tackle the problems of the growing number of children living on the streets.
'Barangay' is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and the native Filipino term for a village.
Tahanan is Tagalog for ‘home’, and this home for street girls is named in honour of St. Louise de Marillac, the patroness of Christian social workers.